Tassal acknowledges the Tasmanian Government’s decision to end seal relocations in December this year and, as it has continued to demonstrate, it will abide by the rules and regulations in place.
Mr Ryan said the company had made a significant investment in fish pens over the past 15 years, however Tassal’s experience from detailed trials conducted was that predator nets and other fish net solutions had proved ineffective.
Detailed trials for the company have occurred and a major investment program has been in place over the last 12 months to ensure we implement the globally best standard available – ocean sanctuary pens.
“Since January this year, Tassal committed to invest $70 million into new ocean sanctuary pens/enclosures, which ensures greater protection of wildlife from negative interactions – particularly seals,” he said.
“Pleasingly, these pens are the only seal proof pens to this point which have demonstrated that they are entirely seal proof, with zero breaches – both above and below the water.”
Mr Ryan said a sanctuary pens solution were necessary to maintain ASC certification and lesser quality netting was not appropriate.
He also confirmed seal welfare was very important to the company and no seal had been hurt from the seal relocations and Tassal had never, and would never, advocate for a cull.
Mr Ryan said he was heartened by the Minister for Primary Industries and Water Jeremy Rockliff’s statements about worker safety and an effective acknowledgement that the Government had a duty of care for Tassal’s employees.
“In a letter to Tassal received on Wednesday at 6.35pm, the Minister wrote that he was aware of potential health and safety concerns for staff working on aquaculture fin fish farms,” he said.
“We are really encouraged that the Minister acknowledges that there are important WHS issues at play here, issues that we have previously said are of critical importance to our business.
In Tasmania, seals are managed by the Wildlife Management Branch of DPIPWE.
The Tasmanian salmon industry has worked with the branch in consultation with stakeholders to develop a framework for managing seal interactions on marine farms.
Mr Ryan said he also looked forward to learning more about the proposed updated Seal Management Framework.